Palestinians buried the dead yesterday from the bloodiest day in Gaza in years, after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians near the Gaza-Israel border during demonstrations against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
Israeli forces shot dead at least two more Palestinians yesterday, although protests were quieter than the previous day.
It appeared that many protesters had gone to mourning tents rather than back to the scene of Monday’s bloodshed.
Mourners marched through the strip, waving Palestinian flags and calling for revenge.
“With souls and blood we redeem you martyrs,” they shouted.
Hundreds marched in the funeral of eight-month-old Leila al-Ghandour, whose body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag.
“Let her stay with me, it is too early for her to go,” her mother cried, pressing the baby’s body to her chest.
The family said she died of inhaling tear gas.
At Gaza’s hospitals, families crowded the halls and spilled out of rooms as patients awaited treatment.
Bassem Ibrahim, who said he was shot in the leg by Israeli troops, said at one stage he had feared losing the limb because of the delays.
“There are not many doctors.
They are unable to see everyone, with all the injuries,” said Ibrahim, 23. “The number was unbelievable and they did not have time.”
On the Israeli side of the border, Israeli sharpshooters took up positions to stop any attempted breach of the fence should demonstrations break out again.
Tanks were also deployed.
But if the violence tapered off, it still had a forceful impact internationally, with countries criticising both the Israeli use of deadly force and the US decision to open its new embassy at a ceremony attended by President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador, and Israel expelled the Turkish consul-general in Jerusalem.
The Palestinians summoned home their representative in Washington, citing the embassy decision.
Netanyahu blamed Hamas for provoking the violence.
For the past six weeks, Palestinians have been holding Gaza border demonstrations for the return of Palestinian refugees to areas that are now part of Israel.
Israel rejects any right of return, fearing it would deprive it of its Jewish majority. Palestinian medical officials say 107 Gazans have now been killed since the start of the protests and nearly 11,000 people wounded, about 3,500 of them hit by live fire.
Israeli officials dispute those numbers.
No Israeli casualties have been reported. Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.
The United Nations Security Council was due to meet to discuss the situation. Israel has said it is acting in self-defence to defend its borders.
Its main ally the United States has backed that stance, with both saying that Hamas which rules Gaza instigated the violence, an allegation it denies.
May 15 is traditionally the day Palestinians mark the “Nakba”, or Catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands fled or were driven from their homes in violence culminating in war between the newly created Jewish state and its Arab neighbours in 1948.
More than 2mn people are crammed into the narrow Gaza Strip. Citing security concerns, Israel and Egypt maintain a de facto blockade on the enclave.
In the decade since Hamas seized control, it has fought three wars against Israel.
The economy has collapsed under the blockade, with nearly half of Gazans now unemployed, the highest jobless rate on earth.
The Israeli military said at least 24 of those killed on Monday were “terrorists with documented terror background” and most of them were active operatives of Hamas.
A senior Israeli commander said that of the 60 Gazans killed on Monday, 14 were carrying out attacks and 14 others were fighters.
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